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Thursday, May 10, 2012

H.F. Clematis Flower Teams Up With 'Mindia'

Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The book includes hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.  Now in Apple’s iBooks store @

As one of the many, many purple flowers (seen here — without my other H.F. comrades — in the left portion of the image above this blog entry, an image you may recognize from Youngquist's post on nybg — New York Botanical Gardens' tumblr) that belong to the H.F. Young Clematis Family, a vine which grows in Youngquist's (your blogger) urban (NYC) garden, I am thrilled to be here today to assist in authoring this post on TLLG.
Last year at this time, all of my H.F. relatives were still buds, and they did not bloom until May 13th, which, as you may recall, fell on a Friday, and news was made regarding the fact that H.F. Clematis's do not have "Friggatriskaidephobia" (fear of Friday the Thirteenth). If you follow this blog, then you may recall this phenomenon, and you are welcome to refer to this story by clicking here.

In any event, this year we H.F.'s bloomed much earlier! It was nearly  a month to the day, and we almost arrived on a Friday the 13th again, but we chose to make our entrance two days later, April 15th, the day taxes are usually due (this was a Sunday, so I'm told folks had a two day grace period this year) to add some cheer to the garden where we live, as many folks from the surrounding buildings gaze out their window upon us.

But enough about me and the birth of my relatives! My central role here today is to reintroduce you to the dearly beloved Physocarpus opulifolius AKA Coppertina Tree or 'Mindia' to his friends, which I am certain includes you, dear reader.

However, before 'Mindia' joins me (he is proof reading his work as I speak), I'll tell you a little secret: my purple petals complement his coppery-colored leaves if I do say so myself, although, knowing 'Mindia' as I do, I am sure he'd say the reverse, and proclaim that it is his leaves that bring out my color!

Be that as it may, 'Mindia' has nothing to complain about! After all, he was  featured (in a starring role) within one of Youngquist's Virtual Stories (garden-themed movies). It's a fun flick, which you may view in Youngquist's Vimeo Library by clicking here.

'Mindia' has also appeared here on TLLG twenty-four times (to date), not including today, and you may refer to any of the entires about him (some were authored by Youngquist your blogger, others were written by 'Mindia' himself), by going to the labels menu on the left-hand side of this blog and clicking on Physocarpus opulifolius. 

The first post referring to 'Mindia' (May 5th 2011), is one that he wrote himself (I was not here to help him), and he did an amazing job! It is hard to believe that it has been a little over a year since he made his debut, authoring a post here on The Last Leaf Gardener's blog, but, indeed, a little over a year it has been since 'Mindia' posted on Cinco De Mayo in 2011, and today I'm thrilled to be co-authoring a blog entry so close to his anniversary of blogging!

And no, we are not a few days past the actual anniversary due to any holiday fan-fare; we were not induging in Margaritas on Cinco de Mayo! We even turned down celebrating the day with a Margarita (which you probably know is the custom for honoring this day) to work on our drafts to be ready to be here on TLLG, dear reader, as a lot has happened in this garden since the day 'Mindia' authored last year's Cinco De Mayo entry.

I am told (and you may recall) that last year at this time, 'Mindia' had just received new digs (a fiber glass container sporting a deep black color); and he was thrilled about it, as apparently he had begun to feel disgruntled about all the attention some of the other things that grow here in this urban garden with us were getting ('Mindia' has promised that he will address that thought in just a bit). 

The story going around amongst us things that grow here in the garden is that 'Mindia' moaned and groaned until he got a new container! (On the other hand, we Clematises have been in the same container since 2005, and you never hear us complaining! In fact, we Clematises are like Youngquist's dearly departed grandmother who, I am told, often claimed not to have a jealous bone in her body).

In any event, all of the 80 + things that grow in this garden knew how 'Mindia' loved those black-colored digs when he was fitted into them last year. (Just in case you missed Minida's "news" last year, I've posted a copy of a picture below that he used in his blog entry when he spoke about his "digs.")

Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The book includes hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.  Now in Apple’s iBooks store @

Who could blame 'Mindia' for being so proud? Especially since black is so fashionable (we Clematises have been wearing black for years) in New York City! 

Now, before I go any further with this entry, it looks like Mindia is ready to join me, so let's hear what he has to say (the paragraphs containing his words for today will begin in a bold orange-colored font). Take it away, Mindia!

"Hello, as you all know, I'm 'Mindia' and I can see that the H.F. flower has been focusing on my feelings about the new digs I received last year, so, before I go ahead with what I planned to say, I need to confess that I've gained a tremendous amount of weight since that time, and a few weeks ago I had to be fitted into a new container that someone gave to my gardener! We donated my relatively new, 'pride and joy digs' to a community garden. In the collage posted below (featuring a few images of me), you can see the terra-cotta colored rim of my new digs in the photos to the left.

"Yes, it's true, in the collage I am seen bragging about my new digs last year in right hand portion of the collage, so I'm a little embarrassed re my weight gain, but that Espoma fertilizer Youngquist and Juan V feed me is delicious, and besides it's organic so my weight gain can't be all that bad."

"I probably needed the nutrients because I was not relocated to a different part of the terrace garden this past winter when Youngquist and Juan V winterized (if you follow this blog, you may recall, that Youngquist and Juan V do extensive winterizing, but you may click here if you want to refer to this), and I was pretty sad about being left alone in the corner — until the Lemon-Lime Cypresses made a declaration to keep me company from a distance during winter. (You may read about their efforts by clicking here if you do desire.)"

"But, as usual I've digressed. Thank goodness I was only asked if I'd like to co-author a blog post and not compose a tweet because I just cannot express my thoughts in 140 characters! So where was I? Oh, yes, as the H.F. flower told you, I will address the thoughts about how disgruntled I was last year at this time (despite that I received new digs) when all the other things that grow in this garden seemed to be getting the attention (in terms of "face-time" on this blog) especially the Tulipias and the Paeonia suffruiticosa (Tree Peony). And, in case you never had a chance to read my thoughts on this issue, the following (in italics) is a copy of some of the text I posted:

My name is Physocarpus opulifolius, however, you can call me Coppertina — just don't call me Coppertone. I am so over those suntan lotion jokes when it comes to my name. In any event, I am posting an entry to this blog from where I usually stand, in the extreme northwest corner of the urban terrace garden belonging to Patricia Youngquist, who normally writes the blog that you now are reading, which she calls The Last Leaf Gardener. With all her focus lately on her Paeonia suffruiticosa (Tree Peony) and her Tulipia (Tulips) in her blog entries these past few days. I am ready to rename the blog, The Last Straw Gardener, if she doesn't write about me! Did you know that since this past April she wrote about the tulips six, yes six times? Count them:

Well, actually it's five times, because one of the tulips took it upon himself to post his opinion (the April 27th post) about a Sylvia Plath poem where he bemoaned her reference to tulips. How ungrateful! No poet ever wrote about a Physocarpus opulifolius. I mean the tulips are fairly newcomers to The Last Leaf Gardener's garden, and I have been here for nearly one year, and I don't recall her ever writing a post about me! But the tulips? All those posts about them occurred in less than one month! I guess I should be used to flowers getting attention by now. After all, last year, my gardener (aka your blogger) posted about her Paeona suffruiticosa (Tree Peony) six times in six weeks, and remember, she was only posting once a week in those days, so the Paeonia suffruiticosa got all the“press” last year!

And, dear reader, your blogger even featured her Paeonia suffruiticosa in the back page of her downloadable brochure? This brochure, as you may know, are where The Last Leaf Gardener“show–cases”some of her selections of her line of invitations that preserve a moment in time, event program covers that enhance any occasion, and greeting cards that are about more than communication, These creations are mostly based on images of things that she grows in her garden, but so far I've not made the cut. So, if you'd like some images of me, I highly recommend that you contact my gardener (a.k.a. your blogger) and suggest that she render some photos of me into her unique collection of correspondence materials, or even a fine print. 

Additionally, The Last Leaf Gardener has already posted about the Paeonia suffruiticosa four times this year, and she only re–opened her garden the week of April 13th, so it has not even been a month and the peony already has four posts!

How about featuring me? After all, with my coppery–orange foliage, I provide a beautiful contrast (if I do say so myself) to the H.F. Young Clematiswhose leaves you can see to my left in the photograph posted above this blog entry, and if you look closely, you might even see the many, many buds that are about to burst into gorgeous purple flowers, which of course, The Last Leaf Gardener blogged about last year without mentioning my name.

"Now, a little over a year later, I am here today, with the support of an H.F. Clematis flower to offer a "Mea culpa" or even a "Mea maxima culpa" for my having uttered such jealosy-fueled words and sentiments about both the Paeonia suffruiticosa and the Tulipas; because I have come to realize how everything that grows in this garden is cared for and valued, and I should never have felt envious of the blog posts dedicated to things other than myself! It is a painful realization, because this spring I cannot make amends with either the peonies or the tulips since heavy rains have already taken their lives! I believe, dear reader, that you are familiar with their fate, as my friend the H.F. flower has informed me that Youngquist wrote about this in yesterday's blog entry which you may read by clicking here. The image posted below will give you an idea of how the garden looks from my vantage point as of a couple of days ago."

"I can be seen in the upper left hand corner of the image with many of  the brilliant purple H.F. flowers' purple petals. The color of their petals is complemented by my coppery-colored leaves, although I am aware that at the onset of this blog entry, one of the single flowers told you the opposite; saying it was their color that complemented mine! I'll let you decide thst matter for yourself dear reader, but I will tell you that that the arrow you see in this picture shows you that I need to face forward if I want a good view, I'd have nothing but an air-conditioner in the window of the building across from me to look at otherwise. In general, I am finding it better to face forward instead of looking back, especially the way the spring season is playing out in this urban garden!"  

It's rained heavily for both days since this photo (shot by Juan V) was taken, so now, even some of the orange and red roses that you see here, are already gone! Moreover, the branches of the Continus Coggygria AKA Smoke Bush (the shrub with the burgundy leaves that is snuggled in between the now flower-less Paeonia suffruiticosa and the awesome Bouncer chair), are now heavily weighed down from the rain. I know how sad Youngquist, as well as the things that grow here, would be if they broke off, so I won't go there in my thoughts. 

I will admit (as disgruntled and envious as you know I can be) that the Continus Coggygria is amazing! No wonder Youngquist used its image for one of the greeting cards (named 'Grace') that she has designed! Her cards go beyond communication and she featured 'Grace' on this blog in a post that you may refer to by clicking here." 

"Youngquist's cards are perfect for Mother's Day which is only four days away (including today), and you can find them in her ETSY Store as well as in the store-front pages of her web-site by clicking on the respective links (here and here). 

I highly recommend reaching out to your mom or a mom-figure in your life at this beautiful time of year, for as I have learned this spring, with the short lives of the peonies and tulips in this garden, time indeed is fleeting and its best to show appreciation for the things and people around you when you have the opportunity!" 

ADDENDUM: I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances.

My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series (pictured below)whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal.  

As of May 22 2018, I have rendered some images from these books into greeting cards and they are available on Fine Art America, please click here for more info.

Re my book seriesWords In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

At this moment, May 2018, both volumes one and two are in hardcover format (as seen below) and are available wherever  books are sold.

*Here's the  purchase info for the Words In Our Beak book series:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529:
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus:

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

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